Maine has the snakiest, cranniest coast of any state in the country – 3,478 miles of it! That’s longer than any state except for Florida and Louisiana. That makes Maine’s coast complex and filled with places to explore — if you have a boat, or if you have access to the water. But, for others who are eager to get out to the water – whether for work or for recreation — accessibility is remarkably limited.

In Brunswick, we have 67 miles of coastline. It varies from muddy marshes to rocky beaches to sandy shoreline. Some it is along the ocean and some is on the rivers — the New Meadows and the Androscoggin. Some areas are more in the thick of things and others are remote. Some are more rugged and others peaceful. The point is that there is a lot to see.

Being able to access these parts of nature in our town is part of why people live here. There is great enjoyment and also peace to be gleaned from spending time by the water. This has been particularly true during the pandemic when people are seeking solace and a change of scenery in the natural world. That’s why the timing of the release of a new edition of the town’s guide to the coast is so perfect.

The town of Brunswick has two committees that oversee waterfront activities. One is the Marine Resource Committee (MRC) that manages the intertidal resources like shellfish harvesting. The other is the Rivers and Coastal Waters Commission (RCWC). They deal with broader coastal issues including public access. Several years ago, the RCWC published a booklet entitled, a “Guide to Brunswick Rivers and Coastal Waters.” The intent of the publication was to let people know how and where they could access water in Brunswick. It included maps, descriptions of properties, and other safety information and resources.

After a couple of years, it seemed it was time to provide an updated version. This year’s booklet includes a new property at Woodward Point that is featured on the cover for a total of twelve water access locations. The effort to preserve the land was a collaborative one between the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) and Maine Coast Heritage Trust. The new Guide includes an updated map with locations for water access as well as an expanded list of town websites and resources. As RCWC member Sue Stableford says, “the RCWC published this updated version to encourage public education. While public water access is limited, we want people to enjoy existing access sites. We also want to encourage protecting our waters for future generations, especially in light of climate change.” Sections of the Guide focus on keeping our rivers and coastal waters clean to help mitigate the effects of climate change. This gives residents simple ideas for how to treat the waters in our town with respect and to understand how their behavior and habits can have a real impact.

The updated Guide to Brunswick Rivers and Coastal Waters is available for free at Hannaford, Shaw’s and several other locations around town including Town Hall. It will also be posted on the town’s website. It is a great way to learn about some of the wonderful places you can go to take in a water view without going too far from home. It is also a quick and easy way to learn more about the geography of the 67 miles that define our town boundary along the coast.

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